Fountain pens have always served as the quintessential combination of beauty, tradition, and dexterity. But did you know they’re also tools of environmental consciousness? Join our tour of the fountain pen’s history, infinite varieties, and remarkable powers. With tips for shopping and maintenance.
“How I stumbled upon the world’s most perfect eating utensil”: Owen Edwards pays homage to the humble, essential spoon, particularly the version designed by the legendary Massimo Vignelli.
By OWEN EDWARDS
Photography by CLAIRE BLOOMBERG
On a funky old pier along San Francisco’s waterfront, Autodesk, a world leader in digital tools for makers, runs a futuristic prototype shop that may be redefining the meaning of craftsmanship.
Martha Mae Jones, a New York fabric artist, has built a rich (and financially successful) life by traveling to various countries, bouncing between art and political activism along the way. Throughout it all, she says, her creations, as well as her life choices, have come from heeding inner voices.
By MELANIE EVERSLEY
Spiritual faith has long been shaped by the lettering on a religion’s sacred texts. This is particularly the case with Judaism, so we visited three Hebrew scribes — in Jerusalem, New York City, and the liberal enclave of Berkeley, California — to understand why such laborious traditions continue.
When you watch masterful stand-up comics perform, it seems like they are just naturally hilarious. Don’t kid yourself. This is hard work, requiring hours and hours of trial and error. To its masters, the art of comedy is a craft, not unlike the careful, step-by-step work required to make a fine piece of furniture.
By DAVID MUNRO
Gorgeous pens have always symbolized the art of writing at its finest—the quintessential combination of beauty, tradition, and skill. But did you ever think of the fountain pen as a tool of environmental consciousness? Our author certainly does. Considering the fountain pen’s myriad varieties, and the powers of vintage pens in particular, he also shops very selectively, cleans his pens regularly, and searches for (and sometimes even makes) the perfect ink.
By TIM REDMOND
For centuries, spiritual faith has been shaped in part by how its scribes form the letters of their sacred texts. This is particularly the case with Judaism. We visit with three scribes in three very different corners of Jewish faith—Jerusalem; New York City’s Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn; and the liberal enclave of Berkeley, California—to understand why people still go to all this trouble. Along the way, we walk across the religious aisle to the Muslim world to see what happens to the Urdu language of India and Pakistan when its script gets computerized.
By BRYCE T. BAUER
With LYNN HOLSTEIN, TODD OPPENHEIMER, and ALI ETERAZ
A dive into the twisted, obsessive, goofy world of Ken Krimstein, who draws cartoons for a range of magazines, including The New Yorker. What does this art form tell us about the nature of humor, and cartooning’s lure?
By LORI ROTENBERK